Raith Rovers will welcome supporters back to Stark’s Park for the first time in 15 months when they host Stranraer on Saturday, chief executive Karen Macartney has confirmed.
The Kirkcaldy club revealed on Tuesday afternoon that season ticket holders will be permitted to attend Raith’s first pre-season friendly against Jamie Hamill’s League Two outfit.
Entry will be free and, should demand outstrip the allowed attendance, a ballot will be held to decide which supporters secure a seat.
The same system will be in place for the encounter against Queen’s Park — managed by former Rovers captain and first-team coach Laurie Ellis — the following Saturday.
Raith chief executive Karen Macartney explained: “We can’t thank fans enough for their support over the past season.
“Many doubted it would even be possible to continue playing during the pandemic, or that fans would drift away if they couldn’t access the ground.
“Instead, fans tuned in online in huge numbers week-after-week to watch one of our best seasons in many years — reaching third place in our first season back in the Championship.
“We hope to keep the momentum going – both on and off the pitch.
“The best news of all is that supporters will be able to return to Stark’s Park for the pre-season friendlies on 26 June against Stranraer and 3 July against Laurie Ellis’s Queen’s Park side.
“Only Season Ticket Holders will be able to attend these games and entry will be FREE.
“As there will still be some Covid restrictions in place, there may be a ballot to determine seat allocation for these matches only.”
‘Competing with Premiership budgets’
The last match played in front of supporters at Stark’s Park was Rovers’ 2-1 win over Forfar in League 1 on March 7, 2020.
The triumph — secured courtesy of a late John Baird goal — ultimately proved decisive as the Rovers claimed the title on a points-per-game basis ahead of Falkirk when football was halted due to the pandemic.
In an address to fans, Macartney added: “John [McGlynn] and Paul [Smith, assistant boss] would like to re-enforce their thanks to our supporters, as they have been assembling the new squad, and pre-season training has begun.
“The management team have been able to strengthen the squad with quality players, both re-signings and new signings. This would not have been possible without your support, as we are competing with a number of clubs with Premiership budgets.”